Written by René Biller
On January 6, 2015, my plane touched down at the New Orleans International Airport (MSY). When I stepped outside the airport building onto the curb I noticed the mild, humid air. My new landlord, Patrick, who was there to pick me up waved me over to his car. After a 25-minute ride we arrived at my new home, 7831 Green Street, a yellow shotgun house as they are common in the South.
The first two weeks in New Orleans went by in a flash. I quickly grew to like Tulane University and their way of teaching as well as the city with its Victorian-style houses and big oak trees. I had always dreamt of living in the U.S. for an extended period of time. This was when I decided to extend my stay, or in other words, I decided to pursue a double-degree with Tulane University.
Initially, I had come to Tulane as an exchange student and was only supposed to stay until the end of May 2015. My spontaneous change in plan had certain requirements that came with it (e.g. I had to take a lot more classes). But it also brought about some amazing opportunities: I spent the summer break living in Los Angeles, networking and connecting with people. The result of my stay was the opportunity to return as a co-founder and the head of business development of a startup that I created together with my new friends.
My decision for the double-degree was the right one for a number of reasons. First of all, you are getting a great “deal” on an U.S.-MBA title from a decent university that is well known throughout the country. Second, if you plan to work in the U.S. this investment will definitely pay off and here is why: Most U.S. employers have no idea what an “M.Sc. in Management” is. Consequently, if you do not have any other credentials such as significant work experience with a well-known, global corporation, your employer in question will very likely not know what to make of your M.Sc.-degree. This is where your Tulane-MBA title can be of great value! Third, you get access to the Tulane alumni network, which spans across the entire country. You also get the chance to make more friends and to broaden your network internationally. Fourth, Tulane offers very decent classes in finance, which are a great addition to your HHL curriculum. John Clarke, the dean of the business school, teaches two very good entrepreneurship classes that are very hands on. Also, you will get plenty of opportunities to hone your presentation skills! Finally, you will have the chance to truly live in this country and figure out if it is the place that you thought it was. From my experience, an exchange semester is often much too short to get used to a different country and a different way of living. Studying abroad for a year is a whole different thing. Furthermore, you become eligible to work in the U.S. for a year.